Strawberry update week 16:

Cold and more difficult conditions affect cultivation

The German strawberry harvest is now slowly but surely gaining momentum in most growing regions but with a slight delay. The cold and the aggravated general conditions are putting extreme strain on strawberry cultivation in this country as well, many growers confirm. bundled the first harvest forecasts and comments.

BLE: Manageable demand
According to the BLE, demand was limited due to the still persistent wet and cold weather. In terms of importance, Italian supplies replaced the now weakening Spanish supplies on the markets. In general, after the Easter days, both the interest and the availability had become limited, but the demand could be satisfied without difficulty.

Rhineland-Palatinate: slight delays and low volumes
The strawberry harvest began in Rhineland-Palatinate last weekend. So far, the long spring without warmth slowed down the strawberry harvest. But now it's finally getting underway. The harvest in the foil tunnels started, albeit with a slight delay and in small quantities. Farmers in the country hope for a long productive season, according to SWR.

Because of increased labor and packaging costs, customers would also have to dig deeper into their pockets for strawberries. Prices of around 5.30 euros per pound should be expected.

Brandenburg: Cultivation area reduced by 90 hectares
This year's strawberry harvest is also about to start in Brandenburg. According to figures from the statistics office, the area under cultivation for outdoor strawberries in 2022 was around 220 hectares. This was almost 90 hectares less than in the previous year. The last time so few strawberries were grown outdoors was in 1998, he said. However, the yield per hectare was 17 percent higher than in the 2021 season. The area for growing the fruit under foil tunnels and in greenhouses also decreased by about five hectares to about 50 hectares, rbb said.

The horticultural association promoted domestic strawberries, saying they had short transport distances behind them and consumed less CO2. "Strawberries, which are already available in supermarkets in March, are imported from the south and produced under questionable conditions."

Ortenau: Good yield prospects
In Oberkirch (Ortenaukreis), the strawberry season has officially started. However, due to the low temperatures, there are not many fruits from the tunnels at the moment. At the present time, however, one can assume at least an average harvest. And if the weather cooperates, then also of a very good quality. "The yield prospects are very good!" says Ulrich Dahm, managing director of the fruit wholesale market in Mittelbaden, who expects the first outdoor fruit from mid-May. The fruit wholesale market in Oberkirch plans to market 2,500 tons of strawberries this season. It is cooperating with the Gemüse-Absatzgenossenschaft Nordbaden based in Bruchsal.

Lake Constance district: Strawberry cultivation on the brink?
Strawberry cultivation is hardly worthwhile for fruit growers at Lake Constance. The first ones are already giving up. The forecast of fruit grower Klaus Strodel from Weißensberg is also gloomy. "We will have no more production of strawberries in Lindau in the future, the policy abolishes it," he tells the Schwäbische Zeitung. It last rose from 10.45 to 12 euros in the fall of 2022. "Due to the minimum wage, we have high labor costs with a labor-intensive crop. The supermarkets take our goods but pay the same price," he explains. But that is often a losing proposition, he adds.

Hesse: Strawberry cultivation on a total of over 1,100 ha
In Hesse, too, the first farms are now starting this year's harvest. In 2021, around 170 farms in Hesse used around 1,140 hectares to grow strawberries; more up-to-date figures for 2022 are not yet available.

NRW: 'Weather depresses mood'
So far, the spring has also shown mainly its cool side in NRW. "The weather is depressing the mood," Johannes Leuchtenberg, chairman of the Wesel district farmers' association, tells the NRZ. Around the end of the week, the strawberry harvest should start, according to the Chamber of Agriculture.

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